Ministry of Coal Advocates Clean Coal Technologies to Drive Sustainable Energy Transition

The Ministry of Coal, Government of India, is intensifying efforts to bolster coal production while embracing cleaner energy alternatives, such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power. Recognizing the imperative to address environmental concerns and curb carbon emissions, the Ministry is prioritizing the adoption of clean coal technologies, particularly coal gasification, to pave the way for a resilient and sustainable energy ecosystem. A press release on these aspects was issued on March 6, 2024.

Coal remains a cornerstone of India’s energy landscape, contributing to nearly 70% of total electricity generation and serving as a vital input across diverse industries, including steel, sponge iron, cement, and paper. Against the backdrop of initiatives like ‘Make In India’, the Ministry foresees heightened demand and robust economic growth prospects.

To spearhead the transition towards cleaner coal technologies, the Government has launched several initiatives, notably the Coal Gasification Mission. This mission aims to gasify 100 million tonnes of coal by 2030 through surface coal/lignite gasification projects. Collaborative efforts are underway to advance Surface Coal Gasification (SCG) projects in Coal India Limited (CIL) coalfields, with strategic bilateral agreements signed in October 2022.

To facilitate these initiatives, a financial assistance scheme has been proposed to promote Coal/Lignite Gasification Projects by Government PSUs and the Private Sector, with an allocation of ₹8500 crores earmarked for incentives. This scheme seeks to demonstrate the viability of gasification projects, accelerate downstream product markets, and create additional value chains in the economy.

Key milestones have been achieved through joint venture agreements, with equity investment proposals approved for CIL-GAIL and CIL-BHEL joint ventures. Notably, an agreement has been inked between CIL and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for setting up an ammonium nitrate plant through coal gasification, showcasing indigenous technological prowess.

The adoption of gasification technology is poised to revolutionize India’s coal sector, reducing dependency on imports of Natural Gas, Methanol, Ammonia, and other essential products. It aligns with India’s vision of self-reliance (Aatmanirbhar Bharat) and is expected to generate substantial employment opportunities.

Furthermore, the Government is actively pursuing other clean coal initiatives, including Coal Bed Methane extraction, exploration of Coal to Hydrogen, Carbon Capture and Storage, and Coal beneficiation through washeries, to enhance environmental sustainability.

Investments in research and development are pivotal to enhancing coal utilization efficiency and fostering innovation in the sector, ensuring long-term competitiveness and sustainability.